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Thread: Amateurs on the Six Husbands Trail 7.03.05

  1. #1
    Member bpschroder's Avatar
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    Amateurs on the Six Husbands Trail 7.03.05

    A little late on this Trip Report, but I thought I'd share it.

    A few months ago some friends from NYC had an idea of hiking Mt Washington on 4th of July weekend. When I heard about their plans I thought it was a little strange since they donít hike often. The plan was to avoid the barbeques normally attended that weekend and do something active. Knowing that I hike all the time in Whites they invited me along and asked for information so they could plan their stay for the weekend.
    I bombarded them with links to websites that contained information on hiking Mt Washington and warned them of the dangers and how they should prepare themselves. As the date grew near and their plans began to take shape I wondered if they were really up to it. They assured me that they were in good enough shape to hike and they also wanted a long and arduous hike to the summit. The night before the hike they all voted and decided that we would hike up to Jefferson via the Six Husbands Trail and then make our way to Washington via the Gulfside Trail then down using Lions Head Trail or Tuckerman Ravine Trail.
    We started out around 8:45 from Pinkham Notch with excellent weather predicted. It was incredibly clear with only a slight breeze and even the summit cone was completely clear of any fog. We started our long gradual hike to the Six Husbands Trail extremely confident that all of us would be off the mountain well before sunset. Unfortunately what I thought would be a quicker pace was a little too slow for such a long day, but never mind the trip organizer thought it would be like a walk in the park. He even brought his Business Week magazine along in his side pocket to read when we stopped for quick rests and snacks.
    We finally made it to the Six Husbands Trail around 1pm and started our ascent of Jefferson. At this point I thought the group would pick up the pace, but instead they started to lag behind. The Six Husbands Trail is a very steep climb that has five ladders and a lot of scrabbling over huge boulders. It is really incredible and I highly recommend it if you like steep ascents. If youíre afraid of heights you should definitely avoid this trail! According the guidebooks you shouldnít attempt to hike down and along the way we met a guy trying to do just that. He explained that this trail would get him to his car a little faster. Iím not sure if thatís the case since he was hanging precariously while trying to lower a large pack when I met up with him high up on the trail. I canít even imagine how he fared later without any help and at just the beginning of such a steep descent.
    Another member from the group and I finally made it to the Gulfside trail just after 3pm and waited patiently for the rest of the group to catch up. We had already waited a number of times for them to make it to this point. And at this time it was decided that we would split up since the trip organizer and another would be finding another way down from Washington instead of hiking down. So, much for a walk in the park! I gave them a trail map and one of my two way radios then proceeded to run and hike the rest of the way to Washington to see how they would get down. It was an incredible day above tree line with only a light breeze and clear skies all around. I finally made it to the summit around 5pm and waited for the rest to catch up. I radioed back to the two who wanted a ride down that it would be $24 per person and the last van would leave at 6:45. Lucky for them even though they were still over a mile away they had plenty of time to get to the summit before the last van.
    I sat and waited for the rest of the group to arrive on the rocks near the summit sign. I find it funny that so many people drive up to have their picture taken at the summit. The weather was incredible. I had been at the summit the day before with temperatures in the mid 40s and a chilly gusty breeze. Despite the never ending foot traffic of tourists it was easy to enjoy the mid 60s with a light breeze on the summit. Simply amazing! The rest of the group and I hiked down by 8:45 and met the rest of our friends who had only beaten us by van by 45 minutes. It was great hike despite the fact that some had overestimated their own abilities and the mountain.

    Pictures from 07.03.05

  2. #2
    Senior Member NewHampshire's Avatar
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    Sounds like one heck of an adventure! Glad all made it back down safely and nice pics!
    Brian
    Adopter: Wildcat Ridge Trail from Rt.16 to Wildcat "D". If you have any issues please contact me!

  3. #3
    Sherpa John
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    Awesome pics Brian... thanks for sharing! I had heard PART of the story... but seeing it in written word seemed to make it "better."

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    Senior Member alpinista's Avatar
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    Great trip report. Sounds like your friends were a tad in over their heads, but I'm glad they ended up OK! I'm curious if in hindsight they agree they weren't totally prepared for the terrain?
    Not all who wander are lost...

    "For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return."
    - Leonardo da Vinci


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    Senior Member SherpaKroto's Avatar
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    Brian,
    Your friends were not totally foolish: they invited you. Good job!

  6. #6
    Senior Member MichaelJ's Avatar
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    Excellent! Glad to hear a good story from you than later from Mohamed in Appalachia.
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. - Edward Abbey

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    Member bpschroder's Avatar
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    Afterward they all considered it a great time. I think they overestimated their fitness level. Clearly walking many miles of city streets doesn't add up to the same miles on the trail.


    Quote Originally Posted by alpinista
    I'm curious if in hindsight they agree they weren't totally prepared for the terrain?

  8. #8
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    Enjoyable report and excellant slide show(s)!! But I most especially like reading that you stuck with your group throughout the day even making sure that the 'riders' were on their way down before you desended. This inspite of the fact you weren't the trip organizer. All too often people split up. Very commendable!
    I'm just outwalkin....

  9. #9
    Senior Member alpinista's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpschroder
    Afterward they all considered it a great time. I think they overestimated their fitness level. Clearly walking many miles of city streets doesn't add up to the same miles on the trail.

    Well, hopefully they've gotten bit by the hikin' bug and that this is the start of many more stories to tell when they're old and gray.
    Not all who wander are lost...

    "For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return."
    - Leonardo da Vinci


    Alpinista's Pix

  10. #10
    Member TrekMan's Avatar
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    Great pictures

    BP,

    I loved the pics - I was up on Eisenhower on the 4th with perfect conditions also. Big difference from last July when it was a "1-cairn day" for visibility as I call it. I also learned a lesson about not splitting up, you seemed to have it pegged perfectly. Good job!
    I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. -- John Muir

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